Paterno Wins No. 400
After falling into a 21-0 hole late in the first half, the quest for Joe Paterno’s 400th win wasn’t looking good.
The Penn State Nittany Lions came out flat at home against the Northwestern Wildcats at home and fell behind early.
Wildcats quarterback Dan Persa led Northwestern down the field on an opening 74-yard touchdown drive to put his team up 7-0 before anyone could blink.
Robert Bolden struggled for the Nittany Lions including coughing up a fumble which was recovered by Northwestern. On the next possession, Bolden was replaced by sophomore Matt McGloin.
Before Penn State could even muster any offense, Northwestern had a 21-0 lead off another Persa rushing touchdown and a nine-yard touchdown pass from Persa to Drake Dunsmore.
Dunsmore’s catch was one-handed in the back of end zone and is definitely one of the most incredible plays of the year so far.
Nearing halftime, McGloin and the Nittany Lions had to put some points on the board if they wanted to stay in the ballgame.
McGloin was able to get the Nittany Lions into the red zone before he hit Brett Brackett in the back of the end zone to make it 21-7 at halftime.
On their opening possession of the second half, Penn State broke out the running game. Evan Royster and Silas Redd combined for three gains over 10 yards on the drive.
The drive ended with a three-yard touchdown pass to offensive tackle Nate Cadogan who was playing tight end in the goal line formation.
Suddenly the Nittany Lions had all the momentum and were only down 21-14 with very much of the game still to be played.
McGloin engineered a beautiful 91-yard drive which featured 20-yard passes to fullback Joe Suhey and wide receiver Graham Zug. It was completed with McGloin finding Brett Brackett in the back of the end zone for a seven-yard touchdown to cut the lead to 21-7 entering halftime.
Penn State came out in the second half featuring its talented running game. On their first possession, Evan Royster and Silas Redd combined for three gains of ten-plus yards.
The drive ended with a touchdown pass to offensive tackle Nate Cadogan who was playing tight end in the goal line formation.
Suddenly Penn State was only down 21-14 and had all the momentum.
The Nittany Lion held Northwestern to a three-and-out and McGloin hit Derek Moye for a 36-yard touchdown on their next drive to tie the game with 6:09 remaining in the third quarter.
Penn State’s defense was incredibly strong in the second half. They forced Northwestern to another three-and-out and got the ball back late in the third quarter.
Silas Redd capped off another nice drive with a nice touchdown run where he deked out a Wildcat defender to get into the end zone.
The Nittany Lions came all the way back from being down 21-0 nothing to scoring 28 unanswered points to take a 28-21 lead.
Penn State kept the momentum going with a 13-yard touchdown from McGloin to Royster to put the game out of reach.
The Nittany Lions defeated Northwestern 35-21 to win their third straight game and climb back into the Big Ten conference race.
The real test will come next week when McGloin and the Nittany Lions travel to Columbus to take on the Ohio State Buckeyes.
Paterno has finally achieved his 400th college football victory. It is likely the only time such a feat will be achieved.
When asked what he kept him coaching throughout his 60 years of coaching, he said “the money.”